It's easy to think of ourselves as victims of toxic relationships, but what happens when you're the one with the toxic behavior?
Not so long ago, a friend of mine was feeling distressed because she felt her relationship was falling apart. To be honest, I was kind of shocked because they both seemed so happy together. Yet, behind closed doors, things weren’t as pretty. They'd only been dating for a few months, so at first I just thought maybe they weren’t meant to be together. She told me she felt unloved, although she told him all the time how much she loved him, and that she felt he wasn't so responsive to her demonstrations of love.
Time passed and it seemed that their relationship managed to go through that crisis she told me about. But now I paid more attention to them, since I knew the image they displayed wasn't a true reflection of their relationship. That's how I noticed some shocking issues about them. She wasn't the loving person she claimed to be but was rather controlling and mean towards him. She would tell him what to do all the time, and if he showed his discontent, she would change her demeanor towards him and become lovely once again. Now the issue became obvious to me, so when we met again, I told her I might have found the problem in her relationship: she was a love bomber.
I mention all this because we tend to look at our relationships through a victimizing lens, because it's easier to feel like preys of toxic people than accepting we're the ones with toxic behaviors. Sure, who wants to be called manipulative or narcissist? Nonetheless, not accepting your toxic behaviors is also a way to show that narcissism. Now, I'm not here to condemn you or talk to you as a model to look up to, but it's important to be aware of that toxicity, because we all have some of it within us. In a study made at the University of Arkansas researchers found out that from 500 people who participated, 48% had narcissistic and toxic tendencies in their relationships, and besides that, it was our beloved millennial generation the one that is more prone to them.
You might not even notice it, but sometimes being too clingy, cheesy, or showing your love in exaggerated ways is just one of the signs that you’re becoming a love-bomber. Why is this behavior so common? Well, the answer isn’t that much of a surprise. As Jonathan Bennett (Dating and Relationship Coach) explains, this is such an “effective tactic because everyone wants to feel good.” If you tell a person they’re the best thing that’s happened to you or how special they make you feel, if they’re in the right place in the infatuation process, they will eventually fall so bad for you, because you’re feeding their ego. At the same time, having someone so attached to you also raises your self-esteem, and whether you’re doing it on purpose or unconsciously, you end up being addicted to having someone who's madly in love with you.
At the end of the day, love-bombing is just a manipulative behavior that uses emotions to drag people to you, so that you can do basically whatever you want afterwards. It’s showering your partner with affection and extreme demonstrations of love to lower their guard, and once they’re all into you, they’ll do anything you want, either to pay you back all that love you’ve given to them, or just because they’re so infatuated that they don’t want to cause any stir in the relationship. It ends up being a toxic cycle in which the least important things are actually the emotions and feelings. Most likely you are or have been, at least once, the love-bomber of the relationship.
For more on toxic behaviors, take a look at these:
Photos by @alex_chuvakhin